Stay With Me, is a novel set in the 1980s, it tells the story of Yejide and her husband Akin, who have been married for about five years, but have been unable to have children of their own. They take numerous visits to the hospital and have countlessless meetings with doctors in an attempt to get a diagnosis, but all their attempts proved unsuccessful. Akin’s mother even took Yejide to various herbalists who gave her different concoctions to drink, but they also proved ineffective.
In Nigeria, a woman who is unable to bear children is a disappointment, and is seen to be the main cause of her childlessness. This book gives an insight on how our culture deals with the issue of infertility, the women are always at the center of the situation and are most times subjected to insults and mockery while the man is never to blame, even when it’s his fault, he is protected and his infertility/sterility is concealed, as seen in the case of Akin. Due to Yejide’s inability to conceive, Akin has been forced by his mother to take a second wife, Funmi, believing he’ll get her pregnant instead.
Initially, I thought this book was going to be the typical Nigerian story of how a man tries to live with his two wives, the drama, fights and all, it had a little bit of that anyway, but that was only the tip of the iceberg.
The story is actually really centered on the lies Akin told his wife, the secrets he kept from her, and the consequences these secrets had on their marriage, and the effect it had on their individual lives and the lives of people around them. This novel is filled with so many twists and turns, although I was able to guess some of the twists beforehand, but that didn’t make me love the book any less. My synopsis doesn’t quite tell everything cause this is a plot-heavy book and I don’t want to give away any spoilers.
The characters were told perfectly, made it feel very genuine. I was able to understand each character, sympathize with them, and see things from their point of view. It was definitely a learning experience for me, there are a lot of lessons to be learnt from this novel. Only problem I had with this book that the author didn’t make me understand how Yejide could have been so gullible, because no matter how naïve she could have been she should have been able to spot Akin’s lies, she should have also been able to know that Akin had a problem, that was a plot-hole that should have been filled. Nonetheless, this is a powerful book, a fantastic debut and I would rate it 3.9 out of 5 stars.
- The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives by Lola Shoneyin
- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn